Q&A: New Year’s Resolution

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Q: Dr Edelberg, if you could recommend one new year’s resolution to your readers and patients, what would it be?

A: Let’s face it, 2008 has been a very rough year and we keep hearing that it may be a walk in the park compared to 2009. During the past few months, the patients I’ve seen are more stressed than they’ve been in years. People are losing their jobs or hanging on by their fingernails. Health insurance, retirement savings, and homes all seem to be on the endangered species list. When faced with losses like these, the dark cloud of endless worry blots the sky. “How will I live?” or “What’s next?” can dominate your thoughts.

But let’s face it, economic change is not as devastating as having your family killed by a bomb or getting a phone call at 3 AM from a state trooper with bad news about one of your kids. Granted, change is stressful. What some of us will likely experience in 2009 will be a reining in of some aspect of our lives. It may be relatively minor, like giving up a long-planned trip to Europe. Or it might be major, like a massive income reduction, losing your health insurance, or being forced out of your home.

Facing events like these will be incredibly challenging, and we’ll be compelled to re-think our priorities. We may have to endure some discomforts. We’ll have to be increasingly creative as we compensate for losses, but with luck we’ll all make it through.

My new year’s resolution recommendation: Face 2009 with courage, irony, and at least a little humor. You’re still alive. With luck, you’ve got your health and at least one good friend. A hot chocolate still tastes great on a cold winter morning. Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll” hasn’t changed one note. And although it’s six months away, there is no place on the planet like Chicago in June.

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